Batter Off Dead: A Southern Cake Baker Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Kentucky
Crooked Lane Books (December 11, 2018)
Hardcover: 304 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07D2GWH2S
Sophia Cummings may be unlucky in love, but she knows that the way to a man’s heart is through his sweet tooth. This evening, she plans to use that knowledge—and her skills as a New York City-trained pastry chef—to open the hearts and wallets of Rumford, Kentucky’s richest men. Sophia, proprietress of For Goodness Cakes, has been commissioned to cater the Heart of the Town Library charity fundraiser at Grape Valley Winery. She’s spent all her dough to make this a successful event, raise her profile, and win more plum catering jobs.
At first, the going is as smooth as an elegant chocolate ganache. After nibbling Sophia’s tasty treats, Ray Peel, the winery’s landlord, announces he will pay off Rumford’s library loan. But the evening soon turns decidedly frosty when Ray is murdered—before he can make good on his promise, and before he can pay Sophia for her catering services.
For Goodness Cakes will collapse if Sophia can’t collect what she’s owed. So Sophia once again puts on her sleuthing apron to figure out who iced Ray.
With authentic Southern recipes!
For Goodness Cakes is open for business and Sophia Cummings is doing everything to build her clientele and bring in customers. She is thrilled to be catering the desserts at the Heart of the Town Library charity fundraiser at Grape Valley Winery. The library is planning a huge addition and most of the money has been pledged by Ray Peel. He is the winery’s landlord and has his hands in many other businesses in the area.
Shortly after the fundraiser begins he informs the librarian he will no longer be funding the renovations, insults local realtor and Sophie’s friend, Madison Ridge, has an argument with woman in town for a wine conference, and tells Giles Dugan owner of Grape Valley Winery that he will not be renewing their lease and plans to shut them down at the conclusion of the night’s event.
Sophia thinks with all the chaos caused by Mr. Peel she’s better get her money for her part of the fundraiser as soon as possible. On her way to the main office, she trips over something and comes face to face with a very dead Ray Peel. She quickly makes a call to boyfriend, Sheriff Carter Kincaid who does his best to calm her down. After looking at the crime scene and interviewing witnesses he decides Sophie’s friend, Madison is his prime suspect. Seriously?? For Goodness Sakes! This put Sophie into a tizzy and she proclaims she will do everything she can to prove her friend had nothing to do with that man’s demise.
I was having a stressful day, my husband was having a long and complicated surgery and I really needed something to keep my mind off that and watching the clock. I can say this book was just what I needed. Maymee Bell’s (Tonya Kappes) story worked on me just like A Calgon, take me away bath. Of course, I had to keep my giggling internal because the waiting room was full of people, but I did share bits with the woman sitting close to me. She was quick to write down the author and the title as well as some of the author’s other books I told her about. 🙂
Maymee Bell has a distinctive voice and she creates such unique characters. Sophie softens up the suspects with treats from her shop to get them to talk. Carter is not happy with her “help” and sometimes she tells him her plan and then does the complete opposite that frustrates him to no end. At least he knows from the start, she is going to butt in, especially with her best friend involved. Sophia’s mother, Bitsy, just cracks me up. She was my favorite in this story. The dialogue between all the characters is very comfortable which makes the story so easy to read.
Solving this mystery wasn’t easy. It was fun to follow along with Sophie as Operation Merlot was put into effect and suspects were crossed off the “murder board”. The story was very well-plotted with plenty of red herrings. I was totally surprised by the ending.
Engaging characters and a delightful mystery. A truly Perfect Escape for me. Thank you, Ms. Bell, your story was just what the doctor ordered. The pages flew and so did my day.
Maymee Bell is the pen name of USA Today Bestselling author Tonya Kappes. She lives in Kentucky with her family and her two schnauzers. She likes strong coffee, slow-country days, and fresh-baked cookies – but she like telling stores best of all.
Find more wonderful books by Tonya Kappes on Amazon here.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”